Outraged Citizens Say This Gym’s Campaign Is Fat Shaming

The billboard in question. (Photo: Carter’s)

Fit4Less gym, based in the U.K., has found itself in the midst of a controversy over one of its billboards this week. The gym’s ad, which features a furry green monster, is making people upset because it specifically mentions “fat” people.

“Tired of being fat & ugly?” the sign asks. “Just be ugly at Fit4Less.” The billboard popped up in the largely rural county of Derbyshire, and some people there are reportedly concerned that it perpetuates negative body-image attitudes. This isn’t Fit4Less’ first experience with outrage over its ads. Months ago, folks were up in arms over another one of its billboards, which featured an alien and a flying saucer, and read, “They’re coming … and when they arrive, they’ll take the FAT ones first!”

Another billboard from Fit4Less that caused a stir. (Photo: Carter’s)

It’s notable that Fit4Less would release an ad like this, especially considering last year’s backlash over another U.K.-based campaign, that of Protein World, which featured an image of a toned model and the question, “Are you beach body ready?” London Mayor Sadiq Khan recently announced a ban on body-shaming advertisements like that in the London subway system. But perhaps it’s the controversy that Fit4Less really wants. 

According to the Sun, Long Eaton club manager Kerry Matthews says the billboard, created by the main office, was not meant to offend. “It’s supposed to get people talking about fitness and, if people come down, they will see all shapes and sizes — we’re friendly and fun.”

On social media, there are mixed emotions about the ad, with some people agreeing that it is problematic and others not seeing what the big deal is at all.

Sigh, I was considering joining Fit4Less near work, and now I really don’t want to give them my money. https://t.co/uZjuUAMTil

Which f*@#ing moron thought this was a good idea??!!?? ‘Disgust’ over 'fat & ugly’ Fit4Less advert - https://t.co/QEaLkJ8G59

Sense of humour failure!
BBC News - 'Disgust’ over 'fat & ugly’ Fit4Less advert https://t.co/CRTam9Hdu8

Such a shame we live in a world where people get so offended! #fit4less advert is funny! It aims at no particular person.

But as one tweeter points out, if anything, the ad has definitely gotten more attention than it would have gotten had it been worded differently.

Alas this being in the media will make them keep on making these ads - 'Disgust’ over 'fat & ugly’ Fit4Less advert https://t.co/QGWN0VGyp0

What do you think? Is this billboard offensive or harmless?

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